Homecoming and History, Bellator 186

Published on November 21, 2017

Story and Photos by Jose Cuevas

 State College, Pa. — Bellator 186 was the first Bellator fight card held on a major Division 1 college campus.

The fights emanated from Penn State University, a college campus well known for its football and top notch wrestling program. Former Penn State wrestlers Phil “Mr. Wonderful” Davis and Ed “Easy” Ruth made their return to their alma mater and the crowd was electric in support of them.

There were 14 fights total on the card, nine on the preliminary card and five on the main televised card. The following are the results of each fight in the order they took place the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State.



Joshua Fremd defeated Ryan Parker via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), in the 2nd round, time: 1:25
Andrew Salas defeated Ethan Goss via Split Decision
Frank Buenafuente defeated Francis Healy via Unanimous Decision
Tywan Claxton defeated Jonny Bonilla-Bowman via KO (Flying Knee), in the 1st round, time: 1:29
Logan Storley defeated Matt Secor via Unanimous Decision
Dominic Mazzotta defeated Matthew Lozano via TKO (Doctor Stoppage)
Round 1, time: 2:37
Michael Trizano defeated Mike Otwell via Submission (Anaconda Choke)
Round 2, time: 2:07
Mike Wilkins defeated Brett Martinez via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
Round 2, time: 1:09
Scott Clymer defeated Michael Benjamin Putnam via TKO (unanswered Punches) Round 1, time: 3:07
Saad Awad defeated Zach Freeman via TKO (unanswered Punches) Round 1, time 1:07
Ed Ruth defeated Chris Dempsey via KO (punch) Round 2, time 0:27
Phil Davis defeated Leo Leite via Unanimous Decision
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane defeated Emily Ducote via Submission (Triangle Armbar), Round 5, time: 3:42
Ryan Bader defeated Linton Vassel via TKO (unanswered Punches) Round 2, time 3:58




Tywan Claxton versus Jonny Bonilla-Bowman

Not all hard-hitting action occurs on the main card and this fight proves it. Tywan Claxton made his pro debut and he did not disappoint. In the 1st round he delivered a vicious flying knee that knocked out Jonny Bonilla-Bowman on contact. It was arguably the highlight of the night.


Dominic Mazzotta versus Matt Lozano

Dominic Mazzotta was coming off a loss to A.J. McKee at Bellator 178 and had something to prove. Mazzotta is also a native of New Kensington, Pa. which must have added to his motivation.

Mazzotta easily controlled the first round taking down Lozano and executing brutal ground and pound. Mazzotta landed an elbow early on that littered the canvas with Lozano’s blood.

Mazzotta continued to rack on the damage until the referee stopped the action to have a doctor examine the cut.

The fight was called off in the first round by the doctor and Mazzotta was declared the winner.


Mike Wilkins versus Brett Martinez

Two local boys faced off in the penultimate prelim fight. Mike Wilkins brought his supporters with him who cheered him on voraciously in the Bryce Jordan Center. Wilkins showed his dominance early by putting on a striking clinic in the first round.

The first round was all Wilkins as he dictated the pace and used his striking to maintain the distance. Round one ended with Martinez’s right eye swollen and with a mouse developing under it.

Heading into the second it was expected that Wilkins would use his striking to continue mounting damage, but this time it was his grappling as he was able to take down Martinez and gain rear control. He ultimately cinched in a rear naked choke and won via submission

Wilkins wasn’t the only one celebrating as his supporters were ecstatic as well.


Saad Awad versus Zach Freeman

Saad Awad is a veteran MMA fighter who has fought on Bellator cards multiple times. He came out with something to prove against Zach Freeman.

Awad made short work of Freeman with a vicious right hook that landed flush.

In the post fight interview Awad said he felt overlooked.  He hopes to get a title shot, and after that performance you can be assured that Bellator President Scott Coker is considering it.


Chris Dempsey versus Ed Ruth

Undefeated Ed Ruth returned to his Alma Mater with a thunderous ovation.

The three time All American wrestler was expected to use his wrestling skills to dominate Chris Dempsey and Ruth did not disappoint as he maintained control in the first round using his wrestling skills.

Dempsey could not overcome Ruth’s superb wrestling skills and tried to keep the fight in the center of the cage. However, it turned out to be a mistake as Ruth is also a magnificent striker.

Ruth was declared the victor in the second round via K.O. Penn State was electric as he celebrated his victory.


Leo Leite versus Phil Davis

Penn State wrestling coach and legend Cael Sanderson was in attendance at Bellator 186. He was asked by the broadcast team to join them for the next fight, Davis vs. Leite.

Mr. Wonderful like Ruth was a very accomplished wrestler during his time at Penn State and many believed he would use his wrestling to beat Leite. It wasn’t his wrestling that Leite would have to worry about but Davis’ kicks.

In round one Davis and Leite were feeling each other out not committing too much to attacking. Leite is a former Jui-Jitsu World Champion which gave Davis problems in terms of using his wrestling to bring Leite to the mat.

In round 2 the action perked up as Davis became more aggressive throwing more punches. However he accidentally poked Leite in the eye.

Once the referee called time in, Davis went back to applying pressure and forcing Leite on his backfoot.

Heading into the third round it seemed Davis was winning on the cards due to his consistent pressure. Davis continued throwing punches and kicks hoping to sway the judges. The crowd began chanting “We are Penn State!” and “Davis!” to motivate Davis.

Davis won a unanimous decision as his consistent pressure and role as the aggressor swayed the judges in his favor. He said that he was glad to be back at Penn State and wants a title fight next and that he wouldn’t mind fighting both Ryan Bader and Linton Vassell.


Ducote versus Macfarlane

History would be made as the winner of Ducote versus Macfarlane would be the inaugural Bellator Women’s Flyweight champion.

From Round one Macfarlane showed why she is a feared striker with effective punches. Not only was her striking efficient, but she was able to defend well against Ducote’s strikes.

Macfarlane was also very comfortable on the ground as she continually tried to lock in a submission hold, whether it be a triangle choke, armbar, kimura, or rear-naked choke.

In round two both fighters stayed on their feet and exchanged strikes. Ducote threw solid leg kicks hoping to weaken Macfarlane’s base. Macfarlane continued to strike effectively and caused Ducote to begin bleeding from her nose.

In the third round Macfarlane began attacking Ducote’s body. Her attack included a savage knee from a clinch. Ducote tried to take Macfarlane down in hopes of getting in control but it was reversed.

In round four both combatants took each-other to the limit as they exchanged blows in the middle of the cage. Both were showing signs of fatigue, but they did not back off.

In round five Ducote worked hard to turn the tide of the fight. She was the aggressor hoping to land something solid on Macfarlane. Macfarlane went for a throw however Ducote reversed it and gained control.

Macfarlane remained poised to find an opening and lock in a submission. She finally found her opening as she was able to secure Ducote’s arm and lock in a makeshoft armbar for the win.

Ducote verbally submitted and Macfarlane was crowned the inaugural Bellator Women’s Flyweight champion.


Bader versus Vassell

In the main even Ryan Bader and Linton Vassell faced off for Bader’s Bellator Light Heavyweight championship. Vassell was not an easy opponent for Bader as he was very strong and had excellent range.

As was the theme for most of the night, wrestlers dominated, and Bader used his wrestling skills to gain control of the fight.

Heading into the second round Bader resumed wrestling and was able to corner Vassell at the edge of the cage.

Bader began to throw heavy strikes after gaining wrist control and exposing Vassell’s guard. The referee stopped the fight shortly thereafter as Vassell was taking heavy punches to his face by Bader.

The referee stopped the fight in the second round via TKO and Ryan Bader retained his Light Heavyweight championship.